Aweil residents can now eat fish- Onyoti says it’s safe

Minister of Livestock & Fisheries, Onyoti Adigo Nyikwec with his staff, members of a joint technical investigative team and FAO representatives

By William Madouk Garang

The Ministry of Livestock & Fisheries has said it’s now safe for Aweil residents to resume fishery activities and eat fish as life span of fish-infection has now elapsed.

The declaration came by when a joint technical investigative team released a result which identified ‘strange’ fish outbreak disease in Lol and Chel Riverto be “Epizootic Ulcerative Syndrome” (EUS).

According to experts, EUS is a seasonal water mold affecting captured as well as cultured fish, its an external parasite of fish caused by – Fungi of genus Aphanomyces.

In December 2021, government of Northern Bahr el Ghazal (NBGs) had barred local communities from eating fish after many of them were hook out with lesions or wounds in their bodies.

As a result, National Ministry of Livestock & Fisheries and UN Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO)dispatched a team of experts to Aweil to carry their diagnosis in that area.

Minister of Livestock & Fisheries, Onyoti Adigo Nyikwec said the disease is now discovered as EUS and its life cycles and behavior of infectious remain motile in water for a period of 20 days only which has already come to pass.

“I, therefore, declared that the state government of NBGS has to lift ban on fishery activities along the Lol River, for our people to go on with their normal livelihood and food security activities,” Nyikwec told journalists during the press conference in Juba.

“…., this report suggests that the infection in NBGS (at Lol River) could be attributed to the flow from Congo watersheds into South Sudan,” he assumed.

Mr. Nyikwec stressed that diseased fish were not recommended for human ingestion adding that infection resulted from eating fish ulceration muscles and tissue which might harbor opportunist bacteria and triggered health implications to human-kind.

Meanwhile, the Assistant FAO representative, Mary LeroLakureiterated FOA’s firm support to the government of South Sudan in solving issues to do heath and societies’ livelihood.  

“Thank to the entire fishery team for the quick response to this fish outbreak in Aweil despite Christmas season the team really take their time as priorities and this is in consideration that fish is an important component of livelihood as well as food security in South Sudan and in particular in NBGS,” Laku stressed.

The Outbreak of EUS in fish was reported in Japanese water in 1971. In 2007, Africa first noted the ailment in Botswana and Namibia and Zambia respectively.

In 2018, it was recorded in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), while in South Sudan this Fugal disease was first diagnosis in Yambio, Western Equatoria State at the watershed of Gangura River in March 2020.

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